The GrowSF Report: A grim new record - fentanyl's staggering cost to human life
PLUS: City camera trial shows promising results
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of January 15, 2024:
- A grim new record - fentanyl's staggering cost to human life
- City camera trial shows promising results
- SF budget deficit to rise to $1.4 billion
- Caltrain Struggles with Cable Theft
Recent & upcoming openings:
- Collina cozies up on Hyde
A grim new record - fentanyl's staggering cost to human life
806 human lives.
That’s the cost of San Francisco’s fentanyl overdose crisis. It’s a grim new record.
Every person who died was someone’s loved one — a child, a sibling, a life partner, a mother, a father, a best friend.
— Grant Colfax, Director of the Department of Public Health in The Chronicle
In the past year Mayor Breed and Governor Newsom worked together to launch new initiatives to disrupt the illegal fentanyl market, but we’re only just starting to see the results. We’re hopeful that an increased focus from the federal government on shutting down fentanyl dealing rings, increased local enforcement against fentanyl dealers, and the upcoming Prop F will help turn the tide on these needless deaths.
City camera trial shows promising results
A test run of 46 live-monitored cameras around the city helped SFPD arrest 65 criminals including drug dealers and murderers.
The surveillance ordinance — which was opposed by Hillary Ronen, Connie Chan, Dean Preston, and Board President Shamann Walton — allowed the police to run this test pilot and the results were impressive.
‘[Police Chief Bill] Scott said the cameras have helped intensify efforts to arrest drug dealers and disrupt the drug trade, and they have aided in arresting murder suspects,’ Chief Scott told Michael Barba of The Standard.
SF budget deficit to rise to $1.4 billion
San Francisco will face a staggering annual budget deficit of $1.4 billion by 2027 if present trends continue, according to Noah Baustin of the Standard.
The City hasn’t bounced back to pre-pandemic occupancy levels for downtown, and as a result we’re missing out on key tax revenue sources. Meanwhile, from salaries to healthcare costs, the price of running the city has soared. We need to get downtown humming again to boost city coffers.
Caltrain Struggles with Cable Theft
As we reported last month, Caltrain is rolling out electrified service. It’s on time and on budget, and the new trains have completed thousands of miles of test runs. But now it’s hit an unexpected speed bump: more than 100 incidents of vandalism or theft has been reported, with electrical cables being targeted.
Caltrain Modernization Chief Officer Prayana Shrestha told Alyse DiNapoli of The Daily Journal, “This is an ongoing problem, and we are looking at a long-term solution, so that means looking at our impedance bond and how it’s installed so it is basically hidden. And unless you work for Caltrain, you wouldn’t know where these impedance bonds are.”
It’s crazy to think that anyone would want to undermine Caltrain’s progress, especially since the completion of this project would make history: it will be the first time in 30 years a diesel railway is converted to an electrified system in the United States.
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Recent & upcoming openings
A great city is constantly changing and growing, let’s celebrate what’s new!
Collina cozies up on Hyde
WHERE: 1550 Hyde Street
If you missed it, Collina opened a few months ago on Hyde. If you’re a fan of Seven Hills, you’ll swoon for their sister restaurant Collina, headed by Chef Dennis Díaz. It offers an affordable Italian menu, with specialties like the 48-layer lasagnette and brick chicken. We're glad to see this cozy favorite with the lights back on!
Your Action Plan
Now that you know what’s happening, help us shape what happens next:
Happy hour rescheduled to January 30th!
Join us for the January edition of our monthly happy hour! Heads up: it’s at a new location! And you’ll get to meet DCCC and Judge candidates!
WHEN: Tuesday, January 30, 6-8pm
WHERE: ANINA, 482 Hayes St
Get ready for the March election!
While national news will cover federal elections, we need to stay focused on the local races that will affect our everyday lives. The next election is on March 5 and includes key races including the leadership of the local Democratic Party and Judge seats. Here’s how to make sure you’re ready to vote:
Update your voter registration! Every registered voter will get a mail-in ballot around February 5 so it’s important to make sure you’re registered to vote at your current address. If you want to re-register as a Democrat so that you can vote for the leadership of the party, visit RegisterSF.org for more info.
Check out our voter guide! We need to elect results-focused leaders and vote for meaningful policy change. This March will be one of the most important SF elections in years. So please dive in!
The Spirit of San Francisco
There’s a lot to love about our city and the Bay Area. Here’s what makes it great. Brought to you by The Bold Italic.
What we’re doing this week
Fashioning San Francisco: A Century of Style
This exhibition boasts one of the most iconic assortments of 20th- and 21st-century women’s clothing in the United States, featuring a hundred collection highlights that includes haute couture lent by local contributors. It is the first major presentation of the de Young’s costume collection in over 35 years, showcasing pieces from renowned French couturiers and Japanese avant-garde designers, along with other influential figures in the fashion industry.
Among the featured designers are Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen, Christopher John Rogers, Comme des Garçons, and Rodarte.
WHEN: January 20 — August 11
WHERE: The de Young, Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
2024 San Francisco Ballet gala
It’s the beginning of the fancy social season for arty and philanthropic types in San Francisco, otherwise known as a night of beautiful dance and partying in some really cool fashion. I’m surprised to see affordable tickets for their after party only — affordable for this event, anyway! This is our recount of last year’s event.
WHEN: January 24, 2024
WHERE: War Memorial Opera House
301 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA
What we’re writing about
Where to go when it rains in San Francisco
January: rain pouring into open windows, soaking jackets, priming lungs for colds, and generally reminding us what real weather is like. A time to step out into the downpour and seek out those bars whose unstreamlined and ruddy interiors contribute to a sensation that you are wrapping the place around you like a warm, dry coat. Here are five to try this weekend.
Bars with killer food in San Francisco
San Francisco has long been rife with world’s best cocktail bars: it was one of three cities, alongside New York and New Orleans, that introduced the world to cocktails in the 1800s, after all. Then SF and NYC led the cocktail renaissance of the past three decades.
Many of these bars also serve killer food. While bars like True Laurel and The Snug are shining examples of this combo, there’s a recent wave of new bars where food and drink shine together, but the vibe is fully bar versus restaurant. Three of the most interesting newcomers? Movida, Bar Gemini, and Stoa.
What’s cool about SF MoMA’s FOG Design+Art fair
In a city often starving for fashion, it’s rare to witness a place so packed and dressed up at the beginning of the year. Now in its 10th run, the SF Museum of Modern Art’s FOG Design+Art Fair kicked off with hobnobbers, socialites, art aficionados, gallery owners and creators.
FOG assembled 46 international galleries and design dealers for “an unforgettable experience unique to San Francisco,” as the pitch goes, and the receipts from opening night alone raked in more than $1 million. The event runs this weekend only — through Jan. 21.
Why you should see this documentary about San Francisco’s newest mascot
Conures are now the official mascot of San Francisco.
The Roxie Theater recently celebrated the conures’ victory by showing “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill,” a documentary by Judy Irving that invites us to appreciate the beauty of unexpected relationships with these birds, and the harmony that can exist between humans and wildlife, even in the midst of a bustling metropolis. It’s been updated to 4K and now — as Irving said — she would love the film to find a “big fat streaming platform.” The film’s showing has been extended at Roxie Theater through January 25th.
Love, loss, and the Bay Bridge lights
“I looked up from the path my feet charted and found myself embraced in his arms at the water’s edge. We looked into the sea and watched the lights on the Bay Bridge dance just like us, calm waves twirling the light and scattering it around for all to see. I gasped at its bounty. He stared at its glitter. We held onto each other tightly and let our eyes be teased by every flicker.” Emily Russell, a PhD candidate in Political Science at Stanford University, writes this short literary story set against the backdrop San Francisco and the Bay Bridge lights.
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